A Trip to Shirakidani Museum

–The secret treasure in Kochi

The energy of life comes through hands. Your hands are different from everybody’s. Thus, your life is different from everybody’s.

The buzzy chorus decorates the 95 degreed day in the summer in 2002. Cicadas, lady bugs, katydids…. A seven year old girl, Natsumi, grabs a badminton racket and steps out of the house. The sky is incredibly clear. The park in front of the house is just about a soccer field and makes her feel like running around. Then, the first step ―out of ten ― toward to the entrance of the park, she realizes something. Oh no, a butterfly is hanging around her. Since she has bitten by a bee, Natsumi is coward to any kinds of flying creatures. She quickly aims it with the racket and sees where it goes. There is no idea with her about that because this is very the first time for her to drive a bug off. Beat. It seems she finally floors it. Seeing that trembling butterfly by the entrance door of hers, one shocking fact comes up and stays in Natsumi’s mind that she killed one life. Only the fresh blue sky knows what has just happened and the scorching sunshine reminds her that she is also the part of the nature. Every child learns how to communicate with lives this way.

That was the third week in July in 2016. The memory of that 95 degreed day had been just flashed back with her mind. After 30 minutes of driving from Kochi station threading by the cliff and a clear river, thousands of well-grown trees welcomed us. There were two tunnels on the way. A short one was about 10 miters, sunshine can go through here easily which make it more like the door to the valley.

Another tunnel was a long one, long enough that you cannot see the other side directly. Because this tunnel had no light there, this made the tunnel more wonderful. It was like a special path that you can go to another world, just like in the Anime “Spirited Away”.

There were few houses build on the half of the mountain. After only a few minutes, the museum was appeared. This place just nearby a stream, the yard had some scrap cars and stones made work of art. Shirakidani International Museum of Contemporary Art just showed up between that river and trees.

museum1“Isn’t it a café? I don’t see any museums.” That would be your first impression getting there. “See if there is someone here.” Waiting for any people for a while after knocking on the door of the “café,” a man with a great white beard came out. That elderly man whose age seemed about 70 gently greets us with a smile. His name is Mituhito Takeuchi. As your first step going into the museum, tons of handprints on the wall (and tables or doors as well) will surround you in a flash. Every print or scratch was roughly framed with varieties of colors. These were casually giving us some sort of fear.

“The energy of life comes through hands. Your hands are different from everybody’s. Thus, your life is different from everybody’s.” he said. “I put my ‘life’ on every wall in order it to be there permanently.”

museum2I see. There might be this kind of art on the wall of next doors as well. Actually, you will know how big the museum is and how many rooms it has that you would not realize from its appearance. Six main galleries and even the yards or some parts of the mountain back there are considered as his work, he mentions. “It took me more than 7 months to get done,” said the master pointing at the monument by him. There is a huge object with walls painted in deep blue and blocked pieces of trees. We even call it a room.

“It is the entrance of mother’s body.”

What? Enter mother’s body? What an Interesting imagination. The inside of mother can impress everybody who enters it. It’s all made by short wood, combination in different sharps. After you get outside of the mother’s body, a gallery which means a new life starts is waiting for you. The new life is so raw. More than 20 artists’ fine art work will showed in next rooms. The art show was only one part of this museum. In the outside, you can view the beauty mountain and stream drink with friend. Or, you can bring you family here to enjoy the natural environment and art at the same time. When some events are held here, this place becomes very lively.

Come here alone or with friends, family, you can get same pleasure in this museum. Hope you enjoy the trip to this secret place in Kochi. Oh, one more thing need to know, don’t forget to call Mr.Takeuchi first. Make sure he has time to pick you up from the Kochi station.
More Info’s about this museum

Homepage: http://shirakidani.jpn.cx/index.html
〒783-0058  36 Shirakidani, Nankoku-shi, Kōchi-ken
Opening : AM10:00~PM5:00   closed in every Wednesday


  1. What a good article!? I really liked your type of writing! It was very easy to finish to read!

    Your right! Sometimes, things looks different from their contents. Something looks very smaller than their real appearances.. I thought this musuem is one of the examples of them too.

    I want to visit there some day!!


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